TV News Anchor Barbie is so yesterday, even though she doesn’t hit the stores until December.
Sure, Barbie’s latest addition to her resume—her 126th in her 50 years—was crowdsourced for the first time. Her fans on Facebook and Twitter chose her occupation. Kudos to Mattel for going all 21st century and being social media savvy. Mattel also announced another winner in this online vote: Computer Engineer Barbie. At last, geek can be chic.
But a news reader babe wearing a posh pink suit with black accents and carrying a microphone and a fuschia folder is old school journalism. That's Mary Richards, the character on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, in the '70s. What journalists—and girls who aspire to becoming reporters—need is a mainstream news gal who goes from print to online in a single bound. (Cue super hero music here.)
This Barbie would represent the hope of reporters everywhere: to prevent the press from drowning in the sea of online content and to continue what it has done for centuries. She also would have figured out how newspapers can make it after all. Instead of a microphone and a folder, arm Barbie with a copy of the First Amendment and all the high tech gadgets her computer engineer persona comes with, and throw in a small digital camera. (She can worry about what clothes to wear later.)
Come to think of it, Mattel should merge the two Barbies and make her the prototype of a new generation of journalists. Why, she could be the first graduate of Columbia School of Journalism’s new cross-disciplinary program, a Master of Science in Computer Engineering and Journalism, the only degree of its kind. What would that new type of journalist be like? Will she save journalism? Let the girls dream of those possibilities. Stay tuned.
Perhaps that’s too much to ask for from a plastic doll. Then again, Barbie has infiltrated the homes of 90 percent of 3- to 10-year-old girls. Look what the Trojan Horse did for the Greeks.
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